When we moved back to New York after a seven-year "hiatus," one of my 8 billion concerns was whether I would find "people like me" again. While I'm pretty outgoing, I've worked hard over the years to find and cultivate friendships with a variety of folks that feed me in different ways, friends whose lives I hope I add a fraction of the value to that they do to mine. This time it felt different. Since I had left town, I had gotten married, had my first baby, and was pregnant with my second. "Me" felt pretty significantly transformed since my last go round here. Not to mention, I had quite unexpectedly stumbled upon pretty special friends (read: lifelines) through my new moms group that I was pretty sad to leave (second only to my OB/GYN, therapist, and chiropractor).
Well, add this to the list of 7,999,999 worries that were a waste of energy (I really should listen to B more) - and not just because I found new friends, wonderful treasures, in different corners of my new life in New York, but also because, as I had been able to before, I "brought" many of my existing village with me. Not physically - that would have been uh-mazing - but many members of my village came with me via text and email and phone call and even long periods of silence because life just does that sometimes. And, it's exciting to think about new people who may join my village, for a night, a year, or forever. They're not all "just like me," and never have been, which is part of what makes them so perfect to be part of my village.
My "lightbulb" moment happened over the course of these past few weeks (Can lightbulb moments take weeks? It does take weeks for me to change lightbulbs.) when I was in the midst of obsessing once again about all sorts of micro and macro issues around work, family, identity, what "really" matters to me, what I want my life to look like today, tomorrow, forever. What I want my week to look like next week. None of these things are new obsessions for me - or for many members of my village to hear about, unfortunately for them. But most of my village knew that this particular moment was yet another step in my process of continuous figuring-it-out and trying to make the best decision when there is no right decision (or so I'm told). And, one by one, as I reached out, each member of my village dutifully stepped up to help me through it in his or her own particular way. And, it felt kind of awesome.
Luckily, I only engaged a fraction of my village on this one. This way only some of my village will still be too exhausted next week time I need. It also felt good (and always does) to be able to support some friends who needed me to play a more active role in their villages recently. #Callme.
Maybe it's come with age, or maybe I'm just too tired for this particular worry (most of the time) anymore, but it's finally dawned on me that my village - while made up mostly of individuals who aren't in each other's villages and who span generations, careers, family make-ups, and all sorts of other things - well, they'll always be my village. And while we may fade out of each other's villages over time and need and be needed with alarmingly different intensity and frequency, I just feel so damn lucky for having a village and finally recognizing that it doesn't actually have to consistently exist as a cohesive group in a physical space to work...though one of these days I am going to get my village together for an Oprah-worthy celebration...we'll wear white, there will be cocktails, and masseuses, and...
Thank you village. I love you.
PS - crossing this worry off the list gives me a lot more time to worry about other things like flying, kids' swimming at summer camp, over-under-scheduling children, work, childcare, finding time to work out and eat healthy on a consistent schedule, oh, and cancer. Thank goodness.